Billionaire Bill Gates just bought up a whole bunch of land in Arizona, reportedly with plans to build a massive “smart city” using futurist high tech gadgetry.
According to a press release from the real estate investment firm Belmont Partners sold a 40-square mile parcel of land—roughly the size of Tempe—in western Maricopa County for $80 million. Belmont Partners, which generally deals in large parcels meant for big-box retail projects and shopping malls, made the sale to Mt. Lemmon Holdings, a company controlled by Gates’ investment group, Cascade Investment.
According to the announcement, the land will be used to develop Belmont, a “master-planned community” that will “transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.” It will feature 80,000 residential units, 3,800 acres for industrial, office, and commercial space, 3,400 acres of “green space,” and 470 acres dedicated to public schools.
The statement continues:
Belmont is one of the largest privately owned, undeveloped properties in Arizona … The new investment will help Belmont become a template for the development of a sustainable city capitalizing on cutting-edge infrastructure.
Accoring to Belmont Partners manager Larry Yount, that infrastructure will include:
- advances in solar power and electric distribution systems,
- autonomous auto testing,
- broadband Internet development, and
- next-generation data centers
Grady Gammage, a lawyer representing Mt. Lemmon Holdings, added:
“Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric. Belmont presents such an opportunity. We know of virtually no other property in the United States so strategically positioned, already entitled, and yet presenting a nearly blank slate of opportunity.”
The land will be adjacent to the planned Interstate Highway 11, which provides major infrastructure and a transportation anchor for the project.